Grass and Gardens

This year my family and I planted a garden. This is a first for us and we are excited to see how it all turns out. One reason that we planted a garden is we like vegetables — and what better than garden fresh vegetables! Another reason I think starting a garden would be beneficial for me is for the spiritual lessons that can be learned and illustrated with the process of gardening. Take a minute sometime and scan through your Bible from the Old Testament to the new and you will find many many illustrations and lessons that use the process of planting and growing and harvesting as a backdrop or illustration. Jesus used agricultural imagery frequently in his teachings and yes the concepts can be understood even if you have never put a seed in soil and watered it but how much more impactful it is if you know exactly – from experience- what Jesus is talking about.  So I planted a garden.

I was poking around in my garden yesterday. Sometimes poking around in it for me simply means looking at it and being amazed at how fast everything seemed to pop up. looking at the bright green growing from the dirt with excitement and anticipation of what is to come. But yesterday I noticed some weeds growing in the garden very small ones almost unnoticeable. At first, I wasn’t even sure if they were weeds or something I had planted. However, after careful examination, I saw that these little green leaves that were popping up didn’t look anything like any of the other plants. Looking at them closer I saw that looked the same as the grass in my yard. In fact, if this little weed had been growing 10 feet away I would have called it grass rather than a weed, but it wasn’t growing 10 feet away it was in my garden and it had friends so they were weeds.

Isn’t it interesting that on one side of the 12′ tall cedar board that defines the perimeter of my garden the grass is natural, expected, understood, even perhaps desirable, but on the other side – on the inside- of the garden the weed is invasive, unnatural, not welcome, dangerous and needs to be removed.

That is a picture of what holiness is.

Holiness is a church word. We talk about it and we say we want it in our lives but what is it?

To be Holy means to be set apart — set apart for a particular purpose.

When it comes to my backyard that 4×8 space is set apart for a purpose. The purpose of producing vegetables anything within that space that works contrary to that purpose is unwanted. It is defiling. Even a blade of grass that grows anywhere else in the yeard would be normal — here in the garden, it is not normal.

God has made us (those who have put our faith and trust in Christ) Hol. He has set us apart for a particular purpose and that purpose is to Produce fruit that glorifies the father (John 15). All around us, there are things that society would call normal. Things that are expected. things that are desired. Things that it would be strange for someone to heat us calling a weed because to them it looks like grass.

However, if we bring those things into our lives- the garden God has planted- it would be detrimental to our purpose it would be defiling. When we discover these things they must be removed.

May God bless you this week. May you continually be made more and more into the image of Christ and as you remain in him may he produce the fruits of godliness inyour life. Amen

Sluuuuuuuuuuurp.

If you are a moviegoer you may have experienced this. The movie is coming to a climactic point.

  •  The man is about to profess his love
  • Batman and Superman are about to find out that their moms are both named Martha
  • Spiderman is about to find out it was his girlfriend’s dad all along
  • The evil professor is about to profess faith in Christ.

Then you hear from the seat next to you or the row above you, “SLLLUUUUUURRRRRRRPPP!” Someone trying to force the last drops of Mountain Dew up the straw and into their mouth and as they do so the air and liquid fight for space in the straw and the noise of the battle reverberates across the theater. I mean they have to get it all out of there because there are no free refills at the movies. The most annoying part is not the noise that is being made, but you know just as well as I do( because at one point or another the sound of that slurp came from our own straws) that the person struggling to get those last drops of sweet green liquid is experiencing no hydrating satisfaction. They are only getting a few drops of watered down soda because the cup is empty.

Have you ever felt like that? Empty. Trying so hard to keep going but there are only a few watered down drops left in the cup. The only use it has is to distract others and frustrate the drinker. This happens to the best of us and it seems to happen more and more and more. Because we are always on the run, always have a meeting or an event on the schedule. Always working more hours to have more money. Always drinking from a cup expecting an endless supply of “go” only to be let down.

Take some time this week — and every week.  Slow down. Rest. Trust God. Go to the counter and get a free refill – the movie theater won’t give you that, but God will.

 

Matthew11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Chirping Birds.

I awoke this morning to the sounds of chirping birds. Not too long ago the ground was covered in 6 inches of snow and even more recently there was a sheet of ice that engulfed everything. Winter is a time of death. The grass is no longer green. There are no more leaves on the trees. The squirrels are hidden away. Everything is drab, dreary and cold. In the winter we like to huddle up by the fire, wrap ourselves in a blanket, drink some cocoa or cider, put on Netflix and wait. We wait for the glorious spring. We wait for flowers to bloom. We wait for squirrels to come out and play. We wait for leaves to fill the trees. We wait for chirping birds and we wait for life. 

This morning I awoke to the sounds of birds chirping, but it is still winter, it is still cold, it is still dreary the trees are still bare. The birds reassured me that winter is almost over and spring is almost here. the season of death is almost over and life will soon emerge. 

We Christians are in the season of Lent a season of preparation for Springtime – for Resurrection Sunday the day Christ triumphantly rose from the grave. It is not here yet, but the birds are chirping, “It is almost here!”

Not only are we now observing this season of Lent, but from the time of the apostles till now the world has been in the winter waiting for the springtime. Winter constantly assaults our senses we feel it in our bones, we see the dreariness, the cold even seems to have a smell, but our ears hear something else our ears hear the birds chirping our ears hear springtime. It will soon be here the day we rise with Christ. The day winter ends and springtime goes on in perpetuity. 

Now, since our message is that Christ has been raised from death, how can some of you say that the dead will not be raised to life? If that is true, it means that Christ was not raised; and if Christ has not been raised from death, then we have nothing to preach and you have nothing to believe. More than that, we are shown to be lying about God, because we said that he raised Christ from death—but if it is true that the dead are not raised to life, then he did not raise Christ. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is a delusion and you are still lost in your sins. It would also mean that the believers in Christ who have died are lost. If our hope in Christ is good for this life only and no more, then we deserve more pity than anyone else in all the world. But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.
(1 Corinthians 15:12-20)